Have you ever felt really underappreciated? When you just give and give and give and your efforts don’t really go noticed? When being everything for everyone is simply ‘expected’, even though your cup is empty and you feel as if you’ve got nothing left to give?
I certainly didn’t appreciate my own mum the way she deserved until I became a mum myself. I don’t really know what I want or expect from others in return for everything I give to my family, but I sure as sh*t know that we mums don’t get the recognition we deserve.
Now, this isn’t me sh*t-canning my own husband for not telling me how thankful he is to have me every day (although you are welcome to, Rhian); it’s about conversations I’ve had with other girlfriends, work colleagues, mums in my mums’ group.
It’s listening to all that we do and realising that the world truly goes round because of us. It’s about the emotional and physical and never-ending roles we take on. In other words, HOW IS THERE NOT A PUBLIC HOLIDAY IN THE NAME OF MUMS – THAT LASTS FOR A WEEK?! I don’t think there should be a Mother’s Day only ONCE A BLOODY YEAR.
My suggestion? Celebrate the mums once a month, once a day even. After all that we do — tirelessly working round the clock, getting no annual leave or sick days, being on call 24/7… It’s the least we deserve.
Because we don’t just juggle our organs around to grow humans and then bring life into the world via our stomach being sliced open or our neat vagina holes being stretched to the size of a football.
We also take on the intense emotional labour of raising a child; become one with the sleep deprivation that sucks the life out of our souls; feel the stress in needing to be in three places at once… that mental load isn’t necessarily seen, but is always felt by mums.
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It’s being two steps ahead of whatever it is your kid needs. It’s knowing what needs to be replenished in the house. It’s making sure there are clean clothes to be worn, warm beds to sleep in and food to fill bellies.
It’s managing different personalities and needs. It’s being a human lounge, mattress or whatever our kids need us to be. It’s accommodating external families, maintaining friendships and some sort of “me” time whilst ensuring you are also drinking enough water and adding nurturing foods into your body.
It’s juggling work and a career and wearing the ‘mum guilt’ of leaving your child with someone else or being an exhausted stay-at-home mum who worries if they are parenting correctly at all times, whilst also feeling guilty for losing your cool more often than you’d like to.
And even if you are both working parents who divide and conquer home life together, I can guarantee the emotional labour is always the woman’s issue.
When your kids are sick and you get sick too and not a single person checks in on you. When you are just expected to get on with everything after months of sleepless nights. When your husband tries to console your children but they only want you — it always falls on us mums…. the pressure to do it all and to be everything for everyone.
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The role of being a woman is so complex and has more layers than an onion. It’s a relentlessly beautiful role and I’d choose to be a woman and mother one million times over. But damn it can get overwhelming sometimes.
It’s a lot, and for what… to be celebrated once a year? I’m not saying we deserve gifts (although a Chanel bag for all the mums wouldn’t go astray). I’m just saying there’s a need for more appreciation. More acknowledgment. More f**king praise. More ‘thank yous’. More of what makes us feel seen and respected as the unicorns that we are.
So, if someone hasn’t already acknowledged your efforts today, just know that I see you for all that you are — struggling, exhausted, overwhelmed but pushing on — AND YOU ARE BLOODY AMAZING.